Rather than uniting American Muslims, September 11 and the subsequent pressure on the Muslim community has only resulted in greater divisions. The journal Society (January/February) cites the English-language Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahran Weekly which investigated the current state of the U.S. Muslim community.
Although some estimates put the number of American Muslims as high as eight million, they are divided into a host of ethnic groups — Arab, South Asian and African-American — so that each faction promotes its own agenda and interests.
With little consensus on issues and cooperation between the groups, the Muslim community is in a vulnerable position, according to Aminah McCloud of DePaul University. Thousands of Muslims are under detention and others subject to FBI, CIA and Homeland Security scrutiny, but “Muslims do not even have an organized group of lawyers [to help them].”
Groups such as CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations) may protest against anti-Muslim prejudice, but it doesn’t have political clout because it lacks a base among African-American and South Asian Muslims. Meanwhile, when South Asian-American Muslims tried to raise funds for a radio program in Chicago, they found little support among Arab-Americans and African-Americans. A unified Islamic community with political clout could be an influential factor in deciding the winner in the upcoming presidential elections, but McCloud doubts that Muslims can overcome their divisions anytime soon.
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